AUGUSTA, Maine — A bill introduced to the Maine Legislature aims to curb e-cigarette use among teenagers by prohibiting the smoking devices from school grounds.

LD 152, "An Act To Prohibit the Possession and Use of Electronic Smoking Devices on School Grounds," was presented late last month by Sen. Rebecca Millett, D-Cape Elizabeth, and was heard Tuesday in committee.

E-cigarettes have been a major issue for schools across the country. In 2018, the FDA released a statement saying that e-cigarette use among U.S. teens had reached an epidemic level. "The disturbing and accelerating trajectory of use we’re seeing in youth, and the resulting path to addiction, must end," FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said. "It’s simply not tolerable."

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According to the legislation, LD 152 "includes in the prohibition against tobacco use in elementary or secondary schools the possession of an electronic smoking device … including, without limitation, a device manufactured, distributed, marketed or sold as an electronic cigarette, electronic cigar, electronic pipe, electronic hookah or so17 called vape pen."

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"We cannot afford for Maine students to continue this trend," Sen. Millett said in a statement. "With this bill, we are setting a precedent that this is not an appropriate behavior for students, which will benefit their well-being."

Co-sponsoring are Sens. Linda Sanborn, D-Cumberland, and Eloise Vitelli, D-Sagadahoc; and Reps. Anne Carney, D-Cape Elizabeth, Margaret Craven, D-Lewiston, Christopher Kessler, D-South Portland, and Anne Perry, D-Calais.

The bill faces more action in committee and votes before both legislative chambers. Stay up to date on proceedings here.